Memories of the Early Days of AAWV

Correspondence in the form of hand written letters that give us a peek into our past.

A handwritten letter from Naomie Hosterman to Blanche Lawson (Cleveland), February 4, 1978:

Your inquiry of the early days brings back many memories of the beginnings of Charleston Art Association and Allied Artists, later Allied Artists of West Virginia. I had kept a complete file of the programs, but when we moved I gave them to Evelyn, and have only some old newspaper clippings and memories to fall back on...

Pansy is right! There was an earlier group which was organized about 1929, at the Moore's Bookstore, called Charleston Artists Association.

When we moved to Charleston from Elizabeth, NJ in January 1925, I had just lost a baby and was very lonely. Since Ralph's duties at Carbide kept him away from home much of the time, the Fred Goshorn family almost adopted me and I spent much of my time in their home. Fred Goshorn, a lawyer, was developing a hobby of sculpture and I had worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum School under a sculptor named Barnhorn; we had much in common. He talked to Thomas Moore of Spencer. Moore was doing some "Sunday landscape painting" and knew a number of artists who came in for supplies. Madoline Keely was asked and several of the other teachers. I asked Eddy Meyer, then a decorator and living in the same four family house as we were, to join. Eddie and I often joked about "the house with a lot of art." So, as I remember these made up the first group which met at the store in evenings to organize. The first president was Fred Goshorn and I was vice president.

We were given the use of a room in the old library for meetings with priviledges of having exhibits on the third floor. This worked out well for a number of years - but then the elevator gave out. The building was so old, it was not considered worthwhile to repair it and the public would not walk the long stairs to visit the exhibits. This was the old Library, which was next to Coyle's...

I was the second president, I believe, which must have been about 1930, as I remember I resigned toward end of year as Sylvia arrived. As I remember, Eddie's father, a Professor in Huntington was one of the early exhibitors. Eddie will be able to fill this in.

I think Arthur Dayton was the third president, as I have a newspaper article that names him, saying and I quote "The Charleston Association is not limited to the artists themselves, nor to those living within the confines of the city, as is Allied Artist." Grace Frame was the Allied Artist president. This must have been about 1934 or 5.

It was after that time, the group reorganized to become Allied Artists of West Virginia and since it was made up of the two organizations, there was always a discussion (sometimes heated) of who belonged as charter members. I was later president of Allied Artists, but I no doubt you have programs which give these dates. I don't know if this information will help or not, but will get this in the mail without delay.

A handwritten letter from Blanche Lawson (Cleveland) to Jan...

I was glad to have this information from Naomi because now I know that I was a charter member of Allied Artists, but it was the Art Association of which she writes that I did not join until the second year. Eddie Myers was not the first president of the Association, but he was of the Allied Artists when it took form. Miss Keely told me that she, Agnes & Naomi talked in Agnes' CHS art room about forming the Association, but I guess that the real first meeting they had with Tom Moore, Fred Goshorn, Arthur Dayton, etc. was in Moore's bookstore.

We often exhibited in the Capital and as I told you that the public voted on the "best painting" according to the voice of public. We were at least 10 years old before we had juried shows, not popular at first.

(Note: Blanch Cleveland was listed in the 1932 Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Allied Artists Association.)

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Allied Artists of West Virginia, Inc. is a non-profit, educational, and cultural association whose mission is to encourage, nurture and present the work of West Virginia artists to the community. Since 1930, AAWV has encouraged artists to show their work, fostered the development of new works, and furthered artistic interests in the community.

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